Welcome to the Science of Sport, where we bring you the second, third, and fourth level of analysis you will not find anywhere else.

Be it doping in sport, hot topics like Caster Semenya or Oscar Pistorius, or the dehydration myth, we try to translate the science behind sports and sports performance.

Consider a donation if you like what you see here!


Did you know?
We published The Runner's Body in May 2009. With an average 4.4/5 stars on Amazon.com, it has been receiving positive reviews from runners and non-runners alike.

Available for the Kindle and also in the traditional paper back. It will make a great gift for the runners you know, and helps support our work here on The Science of Sport.



Sunday, April 25, 2010

London 2010 Live post

London 2010 - splits and comments

Kebede and Shobukhova win as other favourites struggle

Tsegay Kebede of Ethiopia has gone one better than in 2009, and has won the 2010 London Marathon in 2:05:19.  The race was unlike London Marathons in recent memories, because it didn't come down to a big group of men with 5km to go.  Instead, the damage was done soon after halfway, when a 5km split of 14:26 split the elite group wide open.

This surge accounted for Sammy Wanjiru, Duncan Kibet and Zersenay Tadese, three of the big, big favourites in the race.  They were blown right out of the group.  Instead, it was Emmanuel Mutai, Abel Kirui, Jaouad Gharib and Tsegay Kebede who emerged at the front.  The next 5km, from 25km to 30km, was covered in 14:27, giving the elite men a split of 28:53 between 20km and 30km.

That is of course a fierce pace, but it was surprising that the elite field was so fragmented by this pace.  Certainly, Tadese, Wanjiru and Kibet have the capacity to run the pace, but today were simply outclassed.  It's not even as though they hung onto it for a short time, they were completely shot out the back of the group.

Kebede, on the other hand, thrived, and he covered the 21st mile in 4:33, which accounted for the brave efforts of Abel Kirui.  From that point on, Kebede was unchallenged, and his lead grew progressively.  The eventual margin of victory was 1:04, over Emmanuel Mutai, who caught a dying Kirui for his best London finish.  Gharib of Morocco finished strongly for third.  Kirui, meanwhile, paid for his efforts, finishing fifth.

As for those other favourites, at the time of writing, only Tadese finished, well down and looking well beaten.  Wanjiru and Kibet presumably stepped off the road somewhere between halfway and 30km, to fight another day.  For Wanjiru, it's a first disappointing performance in a major marathon.  For Kibet and Tadese, it's two-in-a-row, following last year's failures in Berlin and London, respectively.

I'm sure there will be much discussion of what happened in the aftermath - perhaps back troubles for Wanjiru, plus the travel difficulties, will come up.  For Tadese, I just wonder if he's got the training figured out.  How someone with a 58:23 half-marathon is be dropped just after halfway when the time is 63:10 is beyond me.

Women's race

On the women's side, it went more according to script, both in terms of the pace and the way it unfolded.  Early on, the pace was solid - on course for a low 2:22.  The pace started faster than this, and then dropped progressively up to the halfway point, where the pacemaker stepped aside.

Then it was Liliya Shobukova of Russia who took the lead, and continued to reel off 3:20s per kilometer, keeping the 2:22 within sight.  That was enough to progressively thin the field, with the resistance provided by Bekele and Mergia of Ethiopia, and Abitova of Russia.

Mergia threw in a big surge of her own at about 36km, and this accounted for Bekele and, for a short time, Abitova.  Shobukhova, however, looked untroubled and stayed with Mergia until the intensity dropped off. Then Abitova began to close the gap, and Shobukhova made the final, decisive move.  She moved away at 40km and went unchallenged to the line, finishing in 2:22:00.

It was actually a much closer race than the men's side, and Shobukhova gets my nod for the best performance of the day.  She was composed and in control the whole way.  After her searing finish in Chicago last year, you'd have forgiven her for following moves all day and waiting to the final 5km, but she didn't - she controlled the pace, did much of the work and in the end, was simply too good for the competition.

Overall perspectives

We'll give it much more thought and do our usual "race insights" post tomorrow, where we'll look more closely at the pacing and performances of the main runners.  For now, though, my impression is that the men's race didn't live up to the hype.  Yes, it was brutally fast between 20 km and 30km, but I really did expect it to be closer.

Kebede was a deserved victor, but when you look at the times, and the fact that for example, 10th place was 2:16:38, then you would be surprised to learn that this was the strongest field ever assembled.  Perhaps too much was expected, but I certainly thought it would be the deepest race ever, and if you'd said that fifth would be outside 2:08, I'd have dismissed that without a thought.

On the women's side, it was a better race, with more depth.  Most of the top women ran quite big PBs, and Shobukhova confirmed her status as the premier marathon runner at the moment.  Yes, the time was not spectacular at 2:22:04, but for competitive depth and quality, it lived up to the hype.

More to come - we'll have a closer look at the pacing and see how it unfolded, and add some insights on who thrived, who failed, and why.  So join us for that tomorrow!

Ross

Live coverage and splits below

For those who missed it, and want to follow it as it unfolded, below you can read the comments during the race, and also see the race splits.

Splits



Distance Time Interval time Pace for interval Projected time
5 14:39
14:39
2:55.8
2:03:38
10 ?



15 44:51
30:12
3:01.2
2:06:10
20 59:53
15:02
3:00.4
2:06:20
Halfway 1:03:10


2:06:20
25 1:14:19
14:26
2:53.2
2:05:26
30 1:28:56
14:27
2:53.4
2:04:51
35 ?



40 1:58:41
29:55
2:59.5
2:05:12
Finish 2:05:19
Kebede









Distance Time Interval time Pace for interval Projected time
5 16:33 16:33 3:18.6 2:19:40
10 33:17
16:44
3:20.8
2:20:26
15 50:11
16:54
3:22.8
2:21:10
20 1:07:18
17:07
3:25.4
2:21:59
Halfway 1:10:56


2:21:52
25 1:24:04
16:46
3:21.2
2:21:53
30 1:41:08
17:04
3:24.8
2:22:15
35 1:58:25
17:17
3:27.4
2:22:46
40



Finish 2:22:00
Shobukhova


 


Race Comments

Women's start 
Seems I spoke to soon.  The commentators include Eammon Sullivan, who last year couldn't pronounce any elite names.  20 seconds in, and he's butchered Mikitenko's name.  Pity Martin Lel is not running, he may actually get that one right.

The early pace is steady, as the pacemaker has gone well clear of the field, who only now, just over 2 miles in are catching her.  They're on 2:22 pace, which is pretty much as expected.  About 14 women in the main bunch, but by halfway, expect that to be much thinner. 

Women 5km 
16:33 to 5km, so that's 2:19:40 pace, but aided by a fairly steep downhill section.  The roads are very wet, so while the sun is not out, the roads will likely factor at the end of this one.  Still a big group together.

Women 7km 
The group is now a little thinner, but only one pacemaker present, which is unusual.  It seems the commentators don't know that Shobukhova won Chicago last year - they've just referred to her as an unknown quantity, who is new to the marathon.  


Women 9km 
Plenty of footage of Mara Yamauchi so far, not surprisingly.  She, like many of the athletes, endured a length trip to get to the start line, thanks to the travel chaos last week.  It will be interesting to see how that affects performances.  Still 14 women in the lead group, one pacemaker in front.


Women 10km 
They've hit 10km in 33:17, so the pace has dropped only very slightly over the last 5km.  The group is pretty stretched out, so it should start thinning out soon.  

Women 13km
The pacemaker seems to be struggling, rolling side to side, the occasional grimace.  She doesn't strike me as capable of going much beyond halfway.  Shobukhova is looking very solid just off the lead, as are the Ethiopians.  

Speaking of struggling, Mikitenko is gone off the back of the lead group, that's her race pretty much over!  Big surprise - she probably wasn't fancied for the win, but few would have picked her to drop off a 13-women lead group inside the first hour!

Meanwhile, they're introducing the men.  Here comes the action!


Men's start
There are five pacemakers for the men, compared to only one for the women - this is as much a reflection of the quality of the fields and standards as anything else.  Last year, the men tore through 5km in 14:08 (and 10km in 28:30), so let's see if the same aggressive start happens here!

Women 15km
The women's pace has continued to drop off slightly - they're still on course for a 2:21:10, which is more or less what everyone had expected. The commentators are continuing to talk about Shobukhova as "inexperienced" and new to the event, even though she was third last year and won in Chicago.  They will certainly be surprised a little later, if she produces the win I certainly expect.


Men 4km
The pace is solid - about 4:48 for the first two miles, and the third one is fast downhill, so they're on course for a quick opening.  Not as fast as last year, though that's probably a good thing.


Men 5km
The split is in - 14:39, which is much slower than last year, and given the steep downhill 3rd mile, not that surprising.  The projected time is 2:03:38, but don't read too much into that.


The commentators can't pronounce Wanjiru.  Every time they say it, it comes out differently.  I can't understand how - he is only the favourite, and the defending champ, and the Olympic champion.  If there was only one name they should make sure of, it would be his.  Very poor.


Women 19km
The pacemaker has gone clear again, perhaps her last push before she drops out.  Or, maybe the elite field has lost momentum.

Women at halfway
The lead women are about to hit the halfway mark.  The time is about 1:11 (I didn't see it, because they cut away to the men).


Meanwhile, Mara Yamauchi has dropped off the lead group, which is a surprise. She was prominent at the front for the first 20km, and so her sudden "retreat" to the back is not a good sign for her.  I fully expect that later on, we'll spend time waiting for her finish in 2:26 while the men are at the 38 km mark.  Shobukhova is now at the front of the elite field.


Men 10km
The men's pace is quick, but not spectacular, which is a good thing. Last year was far too fast, and many marathons have been hindered by fast starts.  The group is spread out over the road, which is a good sign, because it means most of the men are holding back, not really being pulled along in a line.  The pace certainly won't drop off between now and halfway.  Struggling to get splits though.


Men 12km
All the big names are in the group - Wanjiru, Tadese, Kebede, Kibet, Mutai, Kirui, Gharib.   There are 12 in the group, but 4 are pacemakers, and all the main attractions are still present.

Women 25km
Not surprisingly, the pacemaker is gone, and Shobukhova is in the lead.  The pace actually picked up from 20km to 25km - the last 5km covered in 16:46.  The projected is now 2:21:53, and the group is now much smaller.  We haven't seen too much of the race in the last ten minutes, but there has to have been a small surge around halfway - it accounted for Mara Yamauchi and a few others.  There are now about 9 in the lead group, which is larger than I expected, I have to say.

Men 15km
I apologize for not having splits more often - the TV coverage is predictably uninformative.  If you know of live athlete tracking let me know.

Meanwhile, the men are through 15km.  It's anyone's guess what the time is.  It seems to be about 45 minutes, which is a little slower than I expected.  It's outside 2:06 pace, and as a result, the elite field is still bunched.

So the 15km split, unofficially, is 44:51.  That means the last 10km have been run outside 30 minutes, which is why the projected pace is now outside 2:06.  The pace has definitely picked up though, because the group is suddenly longer and sleeker, no longer spread out across the road.  The next split will be interesting - will be a little quicker, I suspect.

Women 29km
Shobukhova is still in the lead, setting a firm, but unspectacular pace.  There are eight other women in the group, including Bai Xue of China, and the Ethiopians.  Interesting that Shobukhova is doing as much work as she is - her finishing 10km in Chicago, and particularly the final 5km, was spectacular, and I'd have thought she might rely on that.  But perhaps she's looking for that 2:21 time as well as the win today.


Women 30km
The pace is solid - 17:04 for the last 5km, has them through 30km in 1:41:08.  The projected pace is now 2:22:15.  Solid, but unspectacular.  There are definitely signs that the pace will ramp up though, as the group has spread out and other athletes are pushing to the front for the first time since the pacemaker stepped off.

Men 20km
The men have run 4:50 miles for the last 20 minutes.  They've hit 20km in 59:53, which is still pretty sedate, I have to say.  The final 10km are going to have to be spectacular at this relatively slow pace.  There are 15 men in the lead bunch, none of the big favourites are absent.


The projected time is now mid-2:06 - 2:06:20.


Men halfway
The halfway point in 63:10.  Going through the water table, it did pick up a little.  I think the water-tables can be quite deceptive that way.  The size of the group is probably the best indication that the pace is not that quick - sure, London has a great field, but to have 12 men together at this point tells you that the pace has been steady and relatively unspectacular.


Women 32km
The lead group has thinned out steadily.  It's down to four now, and Bai Xue is not one of them, which is also a surprise.  Currently, Shobukhova leads, with Bekele and Mergia following most closely.  Ethiopia have had a brilliant marathon season, with wins in Paris and Boston, and vying for London today.  Also in the group are Abitova of Russia.  


Men 23km
The pace is still in the 4:50 per mile range - that's about 3:00/km exactly.  At this rate, they're looking at hitting 30km in 1:30:00, and then the race will really be on over the final 12km.  It should make for a spectacular race.


Men 25km
Huge explosion in pace - 4:33 for the 15th mile, and Wanjiru has NOT responded to that.  It was Mutai who threw in that move, and Kirui and Kebede were first to respond, and the defending champ was put into difficulty!  Wanjiru is gone!  Tadese is gone!  Kibet is gone!


The group has been blown apart by that move.  Tadese is hanging on, though more in touch that Wanjiru.  Kibet is off the pace too, he and Wanjiru are running together about 10 seconds back of the leader.  Gharib is there, but right now, it's Mutai, Kebede and Kirui, and one remaining pacemaker.


The last 5km were covered in 14:26, which explain what has happened to this group.

Men 26km
The pace is still high.  Dos Santos of Brazil is right at the back of the top group, and almost in touch.


Women 36km
The women are still in a group of four.  The pace has slowed - the last 5km were run in 17:17, the slowest interval of the race.  The commentator says they're "motoring" - they aren't.  But it is a tough race now, attritional.  Two Russians and two Ethiopians.  Shobukhova remains the favourite, but two Ethiopians in Bekele and Mergia Aselefech are perhaps the big dangers.

As I type that, Mergia Aselefech goes into the lead, and that seems to have Bekele in difficulty at the back of the group.  Shobukhova looks really comfortable to me, Abitova is still there.  Bekele is gapped, five meters back.  Now ten meters.  We're down to three.


Women 37km
Mergia Aselefech has continued to drive the pace, and now it's two!  Shobukova has hung on, as they've gone through the last mile in 5:18.  The fastest of the race.  Abitova is off the group, and now it's one Ethiopian vs one Russian.

Men 28km
The pacemaker is gone, and it's down to four.  It's Kirui, Kebede, Mutai and Bouramdane of Morocco the surprise package. The last mile was 4:38, and so the pace is still very fast.  The 5km from 25km to 30km is going to be spectacular.



Women 38km
The pace at the front of the women's race has slowed - Mergia threw in a surge but Shobukova was able to respond, and looked very comfortable doing so, I have to say.  Abitova has also held the gap steady, which will provide a good barometer of what is going on out in front.


Men 29km
Kirui and Kebede are out in front.  Wanjiru and Tadese are both well down, and neither is going to come back.  Mutai has seen a gap open in front of him in third, and so it seems down to Kebede and Kirui with fully 12 km to go.


Men 30km
Kirui vs Kebede.  My money would have to be on Kebede, but Kirui is running a brilliant race.  The pace has picked up incredibly - the last five miles were run in 4:36, 4:33 (the one that did all the damage), 4:51, 4:33 and 4:36. 


The result is that the projected time is now a course record.  It's 1:28:46 through 30km.  The last 5km were covered in 14:27.  That means the last 10km, from 20km to 30km, have been run in 28:53.


The projected time now is 2:04:51, and I have to say, it's likely to remain this quick.  Will we see a sub-2:05 in London to go along with Boston's sub-2:06?


Women 40km
The decisive move in the women's race has just been made - Shobukhova has gone clear.  Abitova managed to catch up to the leaders, which suggests that the pace dropped off.  As I mentioned, she was the barometer, and she is telling us that the pace dropped.  In response, Shobukhova has gone clear, and she is about to add London to Chicago, and cement her status as the top female marathon runner in the world.


Men 32km
Still Kirui and Kebede.  They're racing very hard, the pace is still high.  It's incredibly aggressive running.  I wonder if Wanjiru and Tadese and Kibet will even finish?  Another disappointing marathon for Tadese.


Women 41km
Shobukhova is well clear, on her way to a PB in the marathon.  She looks on for a 2:22 something.  She has been the class of the field today, always in control.  She was the first to take the lead when the pacemaker dropped out, and given her finishing speed, that would have been a concern to the other women - if she was confident enough to lead that early, then it was always going to be tough to beat her.

Women's finish
Liliya Shobukhova in 2:22:04 (unofficial).  The pre-race favourite has delivered in a new personal best.  Inga Abitova finishes second, a surprise name, and Mergia Aselefech in third.

And now, as expected, we'll get a good five minutes Mara Yamauchi coming in to finish in a time of 2:26 or even slower.  Meanwhile, the men's race continues, but let's watch Yamauchi finish outside the top 10.



Men 34km
Kebede is clear!  This is the decisive move in the men's race, and yes, folks, we missed it while waiting for 11th in the women's race.


In any event, Kebede is clear, with about 10 seconds on Kirui, who is fighting hard to keep up, but Kebede is looking strong in front.  The 21st mile covered in 4:33, that was the move that Kebede threw to gap Kirui, as we cut back to watch more women's finishers.  Is this 12th or 13th?  A spectacular finish for 12th, while Kebede and Kirui labour their way to 4:33 miles behind.  

Men 37km
Oh look, there is a men's race after all.  Kebede is clear, Kirui about 15 seconds back.  So the initial gap is now holding somewhat, but Kebede is looking well in control.  Back to the women's finish line, just in case we miss the athlete finish in 14th.  The men's winner is certainly not as important.

Men 37km
Kebede is on course for something around 2:05, which at halfway seemed unlikely. he has slowed somewhat, running 4:51 and 4:55 for the last two miles.  His PB, recall, is 2:05:18, set in Fukuoka.  South African woman, Tanith Maxwell has just finished in 2:34. 


18th now finishing.  I am thankful that the men's race is not closer.  At this stage, we're only missing the fastest men's performance ever.  Imagine there were five men together and the surges were being thrown.  Now it's 19th, really thrilling this.

Men 38km

The men are at 40km.  I'd guess that Kebede is still leading with Kirui in second.  But with even more excitement, I can tell you that Wilkinson has just finished, and then Docherty, in 2:38:10.  And now Harrison, and then I'm sure another five or six women in around 2:40.

If you're wondering who cares, then you're quite right.  So am I.



Men 39km
Back to the men.  The last mile in 4:46 and Kebede has the race in sight now.  He has perhaps 10 minutes to run, and having come second last year, he's going one better now.  The gap to Kirui is growing steadily, it's now about 20 seconds, and this is going to be the biggest victory margin in London in many years.  


Kebede is tired, he's hanging on, but I think less than everyone else.  It's been a bizarre race - "only" 63:10 to halfway, and then a huge explosion with successive 5km splits of 14:26 and 14:27.


I must confess that I'm surprised that it opened up like it did.  The surge was fierce, yes, but given the quality of the field, I expected more men to survive, even at that pace.  The second half will be significantly faster than the first, looking at about 62 minutes, perhaps a tiny bit faster, which is of course incredible running.


Men 40km
Meanwhile, back in second, Kirui is paying for the earlier surges, and it's Emmanuel Mutai who has moved into second.  The pace is slowing dramatically, as 40km was reached in 1:58:41.  That gives us a last 10km of 29:55, and those are times for Kebede.


The gap to second is just under a minute - 59 seconds, to be exact.  Which means, of course, that Kirui has covered the last 10km in 31 minutes.  Kirui may not even hang on for third, as he has only 20 seconds over Gharib, and he is finishing very slowly.


For Kebede meanwhile, the projected time is 2:05:12, which means that the course record now requires an increase in pace before the finish.  I don't think it will happen.



Men finish
Kebede wins, one second slower than his 2009 performance - 2:05:19.  It's the biggest victory margin in London for some time, we're so used to seeing sprint finishes and groups of three or four men head into the last 2 km together.


This, by comparison, was a solo effort, as Kebede managed to survive a fierce middle part of the race to emerge its champion.


Mutai has finished in second in 2:06:23, just over a minute back, and Gharib of Morocco has come third.  Bouramdane, also of Morocco has finished fourth, and Abel Kirui, who was the only athlete to follow Kebede's surge at about 35km, ended up fifth, having endured a terrible final 5km, his wheels really coming off after a brave attempt at challenging the small Ethiopian.


A real race of attrition - the first half was run in 63:10, the second in 62:08.

Ross 







38 Comments:

IBfan said...

Half marathon split was 1:10:50 for the women.

DrTim said...

Watching on BBC so I'll post splits as I see them ...

Men doing around 4:50 miles ...

DrTim said...

Women

16th - 5:27
17th - 5:28
18th - 5:59

Not 100% sure but it was +/- 2 secs of these

DrTim said...

Women 19th mile 5:36

DrTim said...

18th was 5:27, sorry

DrTim said...

Men

20k - 59:53

Still a group of 10+

DrTim said...

Women's 20th mile in 5:32

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi tim

Thanks, I'm getting them off the TV now. They missed the men's 10km and 15km, and both half marathons.

All the rest are coming up.

Ross

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

It's looking like it will build to a great finale...

DrTim said...

They BBC haven't shown the guys for like 10 minutes now ... crazy.

DrTim said...

Men's

12th - 4:51
13th - 4:47
14th - 4:36
15th - 4:33

HOTTING UP!

One pacer left and the pack spreading out. Kebede and Kirui only 2 with the pacer.

DrTim said...

Wajiru is out of it

DrTim said...

20-25k in 14:26 ...

Lubos said...

Live TV coverage on Eurosport is horrible too:-(

DrTim said...

Ok Ross ... over to you ... I'd be coming up for 20k by now ... if I hadn't blown my long plantar 3 weeks ago :(

DrTim said...

Men's 18th in 4:36 ... just Kirui and Kebede left ... I think sub 2:05 is on cause they both look good.

Lubos said...

30 km - 1:28:36

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Tim

Thanks for the splits - we've missed the men at 35km again, thanks to this nonsense of watching the top 20 women finish.

They cut away from the men's race to show us the women finishing in 12th?

You have got to be kidding me...

Lubos said...

Probably worst TV marathon I have ever seen... Woman with time 2:33 is more important than lead of men´s race. Wow!

Lubos said...

Correction:
Woman with time 2:39 is more important than lead of men´s race.

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi Lubos

Yes, that coverage was absolutely appalling. I am speechless at how they can cut to the women's finish to watch the 17th woman come in in 2:40, when the men are racing with 6km to go.

It's ridiculous...

And to Oliver - I'm pleased to see the race, but seriously, there's no excuse for poor quality. It's not difficult to get right.

Anonymous said...

The german Eurosport commentators speculated the BBC was showing the Commonwealth-Games-Qualifiers.

DrTim said...

Yes, apparently the women's qualifying time for European championship was/is 2:36 and commonwealth games was/is 2:38. So they were showing all the British women finishing within those times ...

London Fan said...

Why can't London beat Rotterdam? We're a marathon major and have better athletes, but still they have faster times.

Come on London, do something!! We need sub-2:05 times!

Joe Garland said...

In case you folks were wondering, here in the US we got the same crappy feed made worse that on TV it was edited down to 2 hours, shown starting at 11am Eastern Time. Our commentators were pretty horrible, although not as bad as what we got at Boston earlier this week.

As a side question, can anyone explain what was the deal with the motorcycles by the lead runners, which was especially notable with the women? Were they security?

Anonymous said...

Inga Abitova is NO surprise name.

A pity Patrick Makau had too much head wind in Rotterdam ...

Marcos said...

I have been expecting a marathon WR in London since 2008. Lel, Wanjiru and now Kebede didn’t get even close. I’ve changed my idea. Now I think that London will not produce a new men marathon WR. With those strong field in the last years in London not even a sub 2:05. As I think Geb wil not do it in Berlim this year we will have to wait Rotterdan 2011. Unless another fast runner show up in Berlim. What do you think Ross, is London still capable to give a men WR?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi folks

Thanks for the comments.

To London Fan and Marcos, since your comments are both about the times:

London has a problem - too many big names in too strong a race. Yesterday was peculiar, perhaps an exception, because they only went through halfway in 63:10, which means the record was never on. But when you look at how the pace varies in the race, then you see that the men aren't going for times. To throw in 4:33 and 4:36 miles after halfway is not the way to run a record!

To run those kinds of fast times, you need pacemakers to hold the pace steady - you can't afford to vary the pace by more then a few seconds per kilometer. This is why Berlin does so well - pacemakers, and minimal competition mean that the pace can be controlled very easily.

Rotterdam, on the other hand, is a race, but I think what's important is that it's a race between guys who are hungry for fast times, because that is the launching pad into big status. Think about what last year's race did for Kibet and Kwambai. In London, you have all these guys with a lot to lose, and the race to win, not to break records.

Then add to this the twists and turns in London, and I don't think it'll produce a world record. It will produce a 2:04 something, but the record seems unlikely. Then again, I thought a sub-2:06 in Boston wouldn't happen!

To Joe:
Condolences for your coverage! Very very poor. I wish the same expertise that produces basketball, football (NFL and Soccer) and even motor-racing would come to running and help us out. I mean, the sport needs to step up to that level in order to grow in the entertainment industry.

Anyway. I'm not sure what the motorbikes were. Maybe security, but I can't think of a specific reason why they'd be on high alert...

To Anonymous:

Yes, Makau without wind would have been interesting. Regarding Abitova, I do think she was a surprise name - in all the pre-race talk, she barely got a mention. Perhaps that was the mistake, but I do think it was a surprise to see her emerge into second in the race.

DrTim said...

Thanks as always Ross.

Keep an eye out for me next year in London giving the WR a shot ;) ... um ... dressed as a Bondi beach life saver in a strop cap, speedos and carrying a surfboard!

If Abitova was a 'surprise' I think that Shobukhova was running on a bit of anger. When they introduced some of the elite women at the start they called out Yamauchi and Mikitenko but NOT Abitova or Shobukhova. With such a publicly stated desire for the first Russian win of London I must say I was a bit surprised and you could see the 'anger' written all over Shobukhova's face. Suffice to say she/they showed them :)

Thomas said...

Regarding a possible world record in London or lack thereof, is the race track another problem? While I never ran London or any other marathon (and my clubmates who did run London took more than 4 hours), to me it seems that London may contain too many sharp turns. And while the official race information only mentions several downhill sections, there must be compensating climbs - else a world record wouldn't be valid anyway?

The Dutch marathons (Amsterdam and Rotterdam) made efforts to make their race as fast as possible, also with regard to prevailing winds: Rotterdam was "optimized" with respect to prevailing southwesterly winds, this year they were unlucky that the wind came from the north. Does London even think of doing something similar? Is this what London Fan means with "do something" ? Or are they happy with their current status: a strong, expensive, competitive field - no urgent need for a world record to boost up their reputation?

Second question: What exactly happened to Mikitenko? You guys were right predicting that she couldn't repeat her London successes. But apparently she dropped out already after 15km - injury or simply frustration?

Knowlsie said...

Thanks Ross and Jonathan for your fantastic race coverage. As you alluded to in your live blog, the coverage on the BBC was appalling, I was watching on the course at the 12 mile/22 mile marks and listening to the BBC radio, and as they came over the bridge the commentators couldn't even say if they were on course or world record pace. It's a minor gripe of mine, but I think if you are going to get such a high quality field, at least focus a little on the race and not on people running in costumes such as the Gingerbread man! Even in the papers today, the headline was about Princess Beatrice running as part of a 30 person caterpillar and not actually any mention of Kebede winning the race. But I guess that is just London, it's a great event but a little more credit should be given to the runners who are supreme athletes instead of focussing primarily on people doing it over 5 hours. After running New York and experiencing the crowd and seeing their coverage, it's an incredibly different race. Moving on though, shame the spring racing has ended, but I am looking forward to hopefully someone taking on Geb in Berlin, and seeing a cracking race in Chicago.

Oliver said...

Ross said:

And to Oliver - I'm pleased to see the race, but seriously, there's no excuse for poor quality. It's not difficult to get right."

Absolutely agree with you on this Ross.

We actually for the first time managed to get the coverage via Eurosport on Foxtel pay TV and I managed to upgrade to get it.
At some points it is almost unwatchable with the random cutting away from men's race to ladies.
I had no idea of what happenned to Wanjiru etc.

Next day they (Foxtel) advertised replay in a two hr slot so I set the hard drive to record it thinking it may be an edited package that made some sense. It was actually a full re-run of same rubbish so I missed the end...doh.

Not difficult at all to get right, no wonder they cannot get any ratings for televising marathons...who would watch it? Who would understand what's happenning?

Ross Tucker and Jonathan Dugas said...

Hi again everyone

To Dr Tim:

Yes, Shobukhova was forgotten by everyone! The commentators (bless them) kept talking about her as new to the marathon, how it was "unknown". Only at 40km, when she finally put in the decisive move, did they mention that she'd won Chicago. I don't know what happened at the start, but she certainly proved a point!

To Thomas:

Fair points. I think London likes the status of "best field ever", which its money seems certain to guarantee. But if they want a record, they'll have to change something. I think the course is probably OK for a record, I honestly think these guys would overcome the turns. The wind is another matter, as is the race situation, where tactics and competition destroy chances of a record.

My money is on Berlin, Rotterdam and Dubai, because those are the "record" races now.

As for Mikitenko - anyone's guess. I saw somewhere that she had shin pain. She seems to have had her day...

To Knowlsie and Oliver:

Yes, it was appalling. Oliver - my condolences for finally getting TV coverage and then getting that! It was abysmal.

And I can't understand how sports like the Tour de France, Formula 1, any motorsport, can get it so right, and then running so wrong.

Covering a marathon is logistically difficult, sure, but not more than it is to cover Paris Roubaix cycling, or the Tour de France, or Formula 1. Yet marathon after marathon, we get second or third or fourth rate coverage.

And as you say, people then wonder why the sport is "dying".

I actually plan to do a post on the sport's media presence soon, based on an article I saw on Letsrun where Dick Patrick was interviewed.

Will do that soon!

Anyway, thanks for the comments!

papia said...

Hey there,

We have been reading the articles on your website http://www.sportsscientists.com/
and are very impressed with the quality of your information.

We have a team of copywriters who specialize in writing articles on various topics and would like to write an original article for you to use on your website – this article will not be used anywhere else on the Internet.

In exchange all we ask is that we can have one or two links within the body of the article back to one of our sites. You can view a sample of the quality of our articles at http://www.atascientific.com.au/

If you are interested in having us write an article for your website please just let me know and we would be more than happy to have one written for you within two weeks.

Kind regards,
Papia

Anonymous said...

Americans complaining of BBC coverage showing Brit women finishing, ha thats funny from the country with the most nationalistic sports coverage in the world when it comes to international events held on US soil...

As one comment said these were runners going for qualifying times for European or Comm Games, not world class but aspiring at their own level, a bit more respect for their efforts...

The answer of course is to have split screen coverage which isnt technically difficult or a choice of feeds, again not hard given the camera support. Over to the BBC.

Anonymous said...

man this website has so much TALK TALK TALK
who bothers to read any of it?

Anonymous said...

Americans complaining of BBC coverage showing Brit women finishing, ha thats funny from the country with the most nationalistic sports coverage in the world when it comes to international events held on US soil...

As one comment said these were runners going for qualifying times for European or Comm Games, not world class but aspiring at their own level, a bit more respect for their efforts...

The answer of course is to have split screen coverage which isnt technically difficult or a choice of feeds, again not hard given the camera support. Over to the BBC.

Lubos said...

Correction:
Woman with time 2:39 is more important than lead of men´s race.